Owner, Jo Harris of The Henley School of Art has this week made the very sad and difficult decision to give notice to close the studio on Hart Street after 5 years.
Jo said, “They say all good things must come to an end. I DID try to fight off that phrase & prove it wrong – but sadly I have to announce, after 5 glorious years, the closure of our wonderful Studio. The lockdown was so, so, so appallingly hard on such a large group of people, from so many industries and I’m truly sad to say, we were right in the middle of that group. Despite a really good fight to earn enough money to pay the rent and pay myself a basic wage, and despite having an extraordinary kind and supportive landlord – I came out of the lockdown with a hefty debt and very little mental energy left to go on.”
In September Jo decided to give one last Herculean effort to save the studio. She added, “Sadly (and understandably) the sign-up numbers are the lowest I’ve ever seen them. The studio is no longer financially viable and I’ve handed my notice in on the studio.”
The studio will be open for the next 6 months (until the Spring) and Jo would love the support of the community to book up on their very last workshops and courses as it would help her somewhere closer “to paying off those debilitating lockdown debts.”
Although the studio will close, it is not the end of The Henley School of Art. Jo will be looking to restart online courses in 2022 and she’s in the middle of sorting out plans and schemes to get my garages converted into a charming, working studio. Jo explains, “It won’t be big enough to teach large classes, but I will be able to hold private tutored sessions specialising in teaching art techniques on a 1:1 basis for all ages. I’ll also be helping A level students through their coursework and helping them boost their portfolio for submission to Art School when they’re ready to make that move. I will also, hopefully have more time on my hands to be able to work on my much neglected Illustration and Portraiture work which, very sadly, has been a bit side lined over the last 8 years! Thank you everyone who has come to the School. It has been the most fulfilling experience of my life and meeting all of you and that has been a massive part of that joy. I will always treasure this part of my life – I can’t wait to see what happens next!!”